State authorities on their toes to combat disruptive heavy downpour
A few areas in the city were inundated following torrential rain on Monday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Alipore Meteorological office predicted heavy rainfall in the city and Gangetic West Bengal in the next 48 hours.
The areas surrounding Deshpriya Park, Lake Road, stretches on Southern Avenue are under knee-deep water and the roads off Southern Avenue and Panchanantala got flooded as the showers were heavier in south Kolkata. Traffic was badly hit and long queues of cars were seen at important intersections. There were traffic bottlenecks on Eastern Metropolitan Bypass.
The heavy downpour claimed the life of a 14-year-old boy, Yash Bengani, who died of electrocution. He was taken to the SSKM Hospital where he was declared brought dead. The Class VIII student, a resident of Ramesh Mitra road, died as a wire had snapped in the area due to the heavy rain and electrified the inundated area where he was walking.
The downpour is a result of the depression formed over the Bay of Bengal. Fishermen in Digha and Shankarpur have been asked not to go into the sea for fishing for the next couple of days. The state irrigation and waterways department is holding hourly review meetings and senior officials have been asked to rush to the risk-prone areas, depending on the situation, and stay in constant touch with the Alipore weather office. A task force has been alerted and 24x7 monitoring has been intensified. The administrations of South and North 24 Parganas, and East Midnapore have been asked to evacuate people from low-lying areas and to keep a constant watch on the vulnerable parts.
Tarak Singh, mayor-in-council, in charge of drainage and sewerage, said that all the pumps are operational to clear the accumulated water and the remaining pumps were given trial runs on Monday. He added that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation was prepared for heavy rains and had assured that the duration of waterlogging would be less.
It may be mentioned that the KMC had cleaned and strengthened the underground sewer lines in major parts in the city in 2014 and it is because of this that the duration of waterlogging has been reduced on Raja Ram Mohun Sarani, areas surrounding Thanthaia Kalibari and Sukia Street. Earlier, people from the slums in these areas often had to be evacuated and ferried by rubber boats belonging to the Civil Defense and police stations.
Singh said that he was keeping a tab on the situation. He held a meeting with senior officials of the department and asked them to take all necessary steps to ensure that the pumps function properly and the accumulated water gets cleared soon. The disaster management team has also been kept ready in case of any emergency.